OK, hunters — I mean real hunters. Sportsmen. Not wannabe, gun-toting NRA members who are confused about the use of nonwartime firearms. Not uneducated people who don’t understand that the NRA’s start was for firearm safety. Or that the Second Amendment was to protect ourselves against government militia. Not about protecting those who want to kill their brothers and sisters. It’s time to stand up. It’s time to give up protecting the right of a 19-year-old deranged punk to procure an AR-15 assault rifle with abundant ammunition to kill more children.

I’m sick. Sick and tired of your belligerent NRA rhetoric to protect something a real hunter doesn’t need and doesn’t use. To you, the NRA, using my name and passing out the worst sporting magazine in America, American Hunter. Give it up. You want to ruin our heritage of outdoor sports? Stay stupid. Don’t give an inch to resolve a plague that kills children. You aren’t a hunter. You’re a dinosaur. The NRA is bringing us hunters down to protect deranged gun freaks.

Quit using my name as your shield. Save our rights to use firearms to hunt and shoot a round of trap.

David Larson, Plymouth

The writer is a volunteer firearm safety instructor, gun club member, deer camp huntsmaster and grandfather.

• • •

Most citizens are very upset about the mass shootings in our country. I am 76 and a lifelong Minnesota hunter. I use a semiautomatic deer rifle and semiautomatic shotgun. “Semiautomatic” means that it fires once every time the trigger is pulled. My deer rifle clip holds four cartridges and one in the chamber, for a total of five. The rifle does not hold more cartridges because the manufacturer (Remington) has determined that there is no practical need for more than that for most deer hunting. My shotgun also holds five shells, but Minnesota law for duck hunting requires that I put in a “plug” that allows only three shells in order to limit the killing of ducks. If I get caught hunting ducks without the plug, I get fined or worse.

My point is that if we limit the number of cartridges either for practical purposes in hunting or to protect ducks, surely we can limit the number of cartridges in a clip in semiautomatic weapons. I propose that we have a federal law prohibiting the private possession or sale of large-capacity clips. This is what mainly distinguishes an “assault weapon” from a semiautomatic hunting rifle. This law would not render a semiautomatic assault weapon useless to the owner. He merely would have to buy a smaller clip and destroy or turn in the larger clip, perhaps with a remuneration from the government. This would slightly impact some hobbyists and target shooters, but that seems a small price to pay to help protect our citizens from mass shootings. This obviously would not stop all killings, but it would require the shooter to reload, giving people more time to escape or overcome the shooter.

David Fulkerson, Chanhassen

• • •

Many people will blame the gun that the Florida shooter used to kill and injure his victims. In reality, he is another fine example of our society’s failures to care for our mentally disturbed citizens. When he exhibited nonsocial, violent behavior, the school system merely dumped him on the streets. Similar to a hospital dumping a homeless person who can’t pay a bill.

“[T]he moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” That’s from the last speech of Hubert H. Humphrey.

Perry Putnam, St. Cloud

• • •

Mental illness affects every city, in every country on every continent. The United States is the only country with a gun problem.

Liz Knutson, Minneapolis

• • •

Saying that a shooter is mentally ill does a disservice to those who are unfortunate to be mentally ill. I, as a psychologist for many years, have treated many mentally ill patients. Most of them are more fearful than to be feared. A while back, I wrote an article about the mentally ill. Most who are mentally ill suffer and would not harm anyone except themselves. The shooter who slaughtered 17 people in Florida was troubled for sure but not mentally ill. He was a young adult who harbored evil thoughts and had an evil inclination to carry out those thoughts. He knew what he was doing and planned a long time to carry out the destruction of young lives.

Insanity, as we know, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting things to be different. Therefore, insanity is to allow assault guns to be sold. There is no reason for such a lethal gun to be sold. Insanity is also a culture that often glorifies violence; insanity is not taking seriously a troubled person who clearly states his intentions; and insanity is not taking their threat seriously.

Focusing on mental illness, although important, is not the answer. There are no easy answers, but one for sure is obvious. No one should ever be allowed to buy or sell an assault rifle. It belongs to those who are defending the country in wartime.

Although there are many troubled young adults in our society, they do not commit such horrendous crimes. It is crucial that whoever is responsible for taking care of a young adult, or anyone for that matter, really know what that person is doing not only in their day-to-day life, but what they put on their social-media sites.

Enough, as stated, is surely enough. Time for reason to take over and not allow the pressure of an organization that is interested in profits, not life, to dictate what is allowed in the marketplace.

Judith Razieli, St. Louis Park

• • •

Remember the outrage over the Las Vegas massacre? Remember bump stocks? Congress doesn’t. There was, if memory serves, a growing bipartisan swell that they would be outlawed.

What happened? Remember the promise by Congress to fix the growing cost of health care and fix the Affordable Care Act with the bipartisan plan by Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash.? Congress doesn’t. What happened to it?

The answer is easy: lobbyists and money. There is a woeful atmosphere of forgetfulness that this is supposed to be a government for the people by the people. Congress has forgotten that, too. Even reworking the rules to get legislation passed has failed. It’s now more important to think of your re-election and fundraising than anything else.

What is the answer to this dilemma? I, for one, wish I had one. The old cry for term limits is fine for everyone else but my representative and senator. Isn’t that how it goes? Yet, what are the chances that if this prevails, the new kids on the block wouldn’t fall into the same trap? When it takes $25 million to $30 million to win a House seat for one lousy vote, who do you think becomes obligated to vote the backers’ way?

I will give them their due. They did pass a new tax bill. I got my $9 increase. Did you get yours?

Dan Ondich, Rosemount

• • •

How is it that in our country it is easier to buy a gun than it is to rent a car? How is it easier to buy a gun than it is to adopt a puppy? Why do I need more of a background check to be on “The Bachelor” than to buy a gun? How can someone think that children being gunned down by a military-style AR-15 is not a gun issue? How is it that people still believe this to be solely a mental-illness problem? Mental illness is a worldwide problem; mass shootings are a U.S. problem. It is clear that our easy access to guns and assault-style weapons is the issue. Enough of the “thoughts and prayers.” It’s time for our lawmakers to take responsibility and make policy changes so we can stop this from happening again. We no longer want the U.S. to be thought of as No. 1 in mass shootings. It’s time for us to be known for something positive.

Olivia Speeter, Minnetonka


Editor’s note: Responses to the Florida shooting will continue in Sunday’s Readers Write column.